Skip to main content

The Catechism in the Cathedral of Milan

c. 1725-1730
Alessandro Magnasco, also called Lissandro and Lissandrino, Italian (active Genoa, Milan, Venice, and Florence) 1667 - 1749
This painting depicts a group of boys receiving religious instruction in a large neighborhood church. The church schools established in Milan to increase the literacy of poor and working class youths constituted the first free public schools in a large European city. The sketchy quality of the paint, a hallmark of Magnasco's style, was much appreciated at the time for its lively rendering of figures....

Object Details
Bessand collection, Paris, by 1931 [1]; Italico Brass (1870-1943), Venice, about 1932 [2]; his son, Alessandro Brass, Venice; his son, Italico Brass Jr., Venice; sold to PMA, 1958. 1. According to G. Delogu, Pittori Minori Liguri Lombardi Piemontesi del Seicento e del Settecento, Venice, 1931, p. 124.2. In a 1958 letter to Henry Clifford, Italico Brass Jr. stated that his grandfather purchased the painting from Bessand about 1932. Mr. Bessand was the director of the "Magasines du Louvre." Italico Brass was a Venetian painter who owned about 50 paintings by Magnasco. Most of the paintings in the 1929 Settecento italiano exhibition belonged to him; the collection remained intact until about 1949 when his heirs began to sell paintings.

We are always open to learning more about our collections and updating the website. Does this record contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? Contact us here.

Please note that this particular artwork might not be on view when you visit. Don’t worry—we have plenty of exhibitions for you to explore.